Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Riccotta Gnocchi with Heiloom Tomatoes and Basil

Here is a great summer recipe to use up those garden tomatoes- the recipe comes from this beautiful book about Heirloom tomatoes. I cant wait to make this again- super good with a glass of wine.

Ricotta Gnocchi:
1 pound fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup flour- plus more as needed
1/2 cup or 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 or 3 large heirloom tomatoes- cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To make the gnocchi: In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg yolks, the 3/4 cup flour, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and stir well to make a moist but sticky dough. Gradually add extra flour if needed. 1 Tablespoon at a time, but avoid making it too dry. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. With well-floured hands, roll each piece into a 3/4 inch rope on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been heavily dusted with flour. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and use the same day, or freeze on the baking sheet, then transfer to plastic bags to freeze for up to 2 months.

In a large non-stick, nonreactive saute pan, melt the butter and 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the butter is foaming but not brown. Add the gnocchi, dusting off the excess flour first. Saute the gnocchi over medium heat, turning carefully with a spatula, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, being careful to let the garlic brown. Add the tomatoes and basil and toss with the gnocchi for a minute or two just until the tomatoes are heated through. Do not overcook them. Add remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the gnocchi among 4 bowls and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serves 4

My Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup milk chocolate or semisweet chips- such as nestles
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup walnuts broken up a bit

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening, sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy
add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mix on low speed until incorporated
Stir in Chocolate chips and walnuts.
Drop by large Icecream scoops onto greased cookie sheets
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until golden brown

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School Snack: Apple Cupcakes

I baked spice cake cupcakes in the Jumbo cupcake pan and then iced them with white icing. I dipped the frosted cupcakes in red sanding sugar and then poked a cinnamon stick for a stem and used fresh mint for the leaves. I then scraped away some frosting and then placed a few black icing marks for apple seeds.

First Day of School

It is hard to believe Cade started Middle School Today. I took a few of our traditional first day of school photos before we left for school this morning. Both boys had great first days back to school.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Look what the Boys discovered this morning: A fishing spider and it's spiderlings

I think the spider we found this morning belongs to a group of spiders called Dolomedes or as “fishing spiders”? As the name suggests, this genus of spiders is usually found on or near water, “fishing” for aquatic prey, or other creatures attracted to the water’s edge. Typical prey might include water striders, small minnows and even tadpoles. They may be found clinging to a rock, piece of wood, or vegetation, with several legs resting lightly on the water’s surface. They wait patiently, sensing the approach of prey through the movement of the water. When something comes within striking distance, they make their move, seizing their prey, and even diving below the water’s surface in pursuit.

The Ball of baby spiders that we found near the Giant Mother is called Spiderlings.

Dolomedes spiders belong the to Family Pisauridae, commonly known as the Nursery Web spiders. They are referred to as such because the females construct a spherical egg sac and carry it in their jaws (chelicerae) until close to the spiderlings’ time of hatching. Then, they place the sac inside of a nursery web of silk strands secured to vegetation, and remain on guard close by. After hatching, the young spiderlings remain in the nursery for a time, occasionally moving away from each other, but quickly reforming into a ball when disturbed. We watched the ball of spiderlings move around when we gently moved the plant it was attached to. It was fun to watch and we could not believe how many babies there were.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Recipe: Zucchini Salsa

Zucchini Salsa:
10 cups zucchini peeled and shredded
4 onions chopped
2 green bell peppers chopped
2 red bell peppers chopped
1/4 c. picking salt
1 T. pickling salt
2 T. dry mustard
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. cumin
2 c. white vinegar
1 c. brown sugar
2 T. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. black pepper
5 c. chopped ripe tomatoes
2 T. cornstarch
2 cans tomato paste
In a large bowl combine, zucchini,onions,green pepper, red pepper, and the salt. Mix together,cover and let stand overnight.
Next day rinse, drain well and put into a large pot then add 1 T.salt, mustard, garlic, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes, cornstarch, nutmeg, pepper, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Water bath jars if they have not sealed properly. Note: If you want it "hot" just add a dozen finely chopped jalapenos

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